Bradford Festival To Be Treated By World Premiere Of ‘Ice Cream: The Opera’

From Skipton Building Society Camerata and Freedom Studios in association with Spin Arts comes the world premiere of Ice Cream: The Opera, Ian McMillan’s new opera about two warring ice cream vendor families from Yorkshire whocome together through song, ice cream and love.

Ice Cream: The Opera will have its world premiere at City Park as part of the Bradford Festival on Sunday 30 July at 1pm,3pm & 5.15pm

Performed in two actual ice cream vans, Ice Cream: The Opera tells the story of Romano and Geetha who have fallen in love. Their families own rival ice cream companies in the city and have been engaged in a turf war for generations. A bitter battle plays out between the parents; insults are hurled, jingles are amplified and weapons are brandished. Geetha and Romano proclaim their love and try in vain to calm the situation, but are caught in the crossfire with dramatic consequences.

Ice Cream: The Opera is a contemporary chamber opera for four singers inspired by the tale of Romeo and Juliet. The music, performed live, is in the rich tradition of 19th century romantic opera with a twist, given by a flavour of Indian music and a libretto full of unmistakable Yorkshire vernacular wit and warmth, sure to grab the imagination, stir the heart and engage non-opera audiences. Joining the four performers will be a community chorus, including members of Bradford Friendship Choir for asylum seekers and friends.

Directed by Tom Wright (The Container, Young Vic and Brief Encounters at Bradford Interchange, Freedom Studios),the new opera has been written by poet, writer, playwright and broadcaster, Ian McMillan – ‘The Bard of Barnsley’, and composed by Russell Sarre, whose work has been performed around the globe, from The White House to Shanghai Arts Centre, to Edinburgh Fringe Festival and London’s West End. The production’s music is directed by Ben Crick and will feature designs by Ryan Dawson Laight.

The production’s cast will feature Mezzo Soprano Hannah Mason (Turandot, Opera North), Baritone Spiro Fernando, Tenor Joseph Doody and Soprano Tara Mansfield.

Ian McMillan said about the new opera “

‘I’m very excited that the Ice Cream Opera I wrote the words for is going to be produced in Bradford; I think that opera is the perfect form for our angry and excitable times, and this one can’t be licked! It’s so hot it’ll melt your heart!’ 

Leeds-based Spin Arts is an entrepreneurial independent producing company, which works in collaboration with international artists to create live productions that resonate with diverse audiences around the globe.

Bradford-based Freedom Studios is an award-winning intercultural theatre company, which connects different people and communities through story-telling and making theatre. Engagement is intrinsic to their work, and communities are at the heart of what they do.

Sarah Shead, Director and Creative Producer of Spin Arts said: “We can’t think of a better place than Bradford, former home of literary greats, and a city full of culture, to present this feast of show that brings together an extraordinary international team. Sarre’s composition is perfectly complimented by McMillan’s down to earth and witty words, making Ice Cream: The Opera a wonderful show for all the family that will have you singing all the way home.”

Ice Cream: The Opera is a co-production between Skipton Building Society, Yorkshire’s only professional chamber orchestra and Freedom Studios in association with Spin Arts. The production has been funded by Bradford Metropolitan District Council

For more information on Ice Cream: The Opera, visit


About Author /

Matthew has been writing for the past 5 years about music, sports and movies and has now finally got his chance to write about theatre. Having previously worked for the likes of Kerrang and Uncut, as well as previously having a radio show for 6 Towns, he has interviewed hundreds of bands throughout his career.

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